How to Keep Candidates Engaged Through the Hiring Process?

Oct 21, 2021
How to Keep Candidates Engaged Through the Hiring Process?
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Keeping candidates engaged throughout the hiring process is much more challenging than attracting their initial applications. 

Job seekers are encouraged to cast a wide net by applying to every job they can, making it vital to keep their attention focused on your company. Keeping candidates engaged means improving your communication with candidates and understanding how they respond to recruiters.

Respond Faster

Candidates are used to not hearing back from companies that are not interested. As a result, they will move on to pursuing other applications quickly if you don’t respond within a few days, assuming they will not get a response from you. If they wait longer than a few days to reply to their messages, many candidates will have started to progress applications at other companies.

Send Updates

Keeping candidates engaged is not just about responding to their messages faster, but also contacting them in a more proactive way. Don’t leave candidates to ask for updates about their application or more information about the role they are applying for.

Particularly during a lengthy recruitment period, many companies not only recruit using SMS, but send out regular messages to candidates to keep them interested in the company and to let them know they are still in the running for the job. 

Besides informing candidates about updates to their application or texting interview reminders, these messages can give more insight into your company or their role.

Provide More Information

Giving candidates more information about the company and the application process is critical to maintaining their engagement. Every company follows a different recruitment process and unless you explain yours, candidates won’t know what to expect. 

At every stage of the recruitment process, make sure candidates know: 

  • What is happening to their application? 

  • What is going to happen at the next stage?

  • When should they expect the next update from you?

Ensuring that every message you send answers these three questions reduces the amount that candidates need to follow up with you to get key information, making the recruitment process smoother for you and your job candidates. 

This can all be done manually, or you can utilize email software to handle the burden automatically. 

It also enables candidates to prepare the documents they will need, or prepare their notes for an upcoming interview. As a result, they can invest their time and energy into learning more about your business instead of searching for other roles to apply to.

Give Clear Job Descriptions

Vague job descriptions packed full of industry buzzwords turn away talented potential employees, and can also lead to less engagement from the candidates they do manage to attract. This is because they give a bad first impression to candidates, suggesting a lack of effort or worse, suggesting that the position is being offered by someone who doesn’t understand or value the role. Providing a clear assessment of what you need from a candidate is especially important when hiring as a start-up, as roles are more likely to cover multiple responsibilities that don’t fit neatly into one skill set.

As a result, top talent will avoid these job postings, instead favoring companies that have a clearer picture of what they need and why. For those that do apply it is hard to get passionate about a potential job, they know little about it, so your company might be a fallback option rather than their first choice.

Build a Relationship

While learning more about your company and their prospective role in it will be a primary focus for many candidates, your work environment and team culture are equally important in keeping candidates engaged.

Besides updates about their application, invite candidates to join a newsletter that gives insights into your workplace culture, for example by introducing company events and fundraisers, highlighting recent employee achievements, or even starting the onboarding process by introducing them to the team. This is a great opportunity to show candidates that your company has created a friendly and supportive environment where they can participate socially as well as progress in their careers.

If you’re hiring remote employees, you can also consider using webinar software to effectively scale your recruiting process and connect with top performers through video meetings, no matter where they are based.

Avoid Red Flags

Most job candidates have seen enough job advertisements to know and avoid the red flags, such as a vague job description. They will continue to be on the lookout for signs that they should avoid an employer throughout the recruitment process, and you might inadvertently be giving out one of these signals. Here are a few examples:

High Turnover Rates

Candidates know that unless you are expanding your team, they are replacing someone. An offhand comment that suggests you are always hiring or frequently replacing staff can make a candidate start to wonder why you might have trouble retaining long-term employees.

Poor Work-Life Balance

Think twice before promoting a ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude or seasonal celebrations in the office. Candidates can interpret this as suggesting that an employer expects work to come before employees' personal lives, or that they can expect to frequently spend holidays at work.

Ghosting Unsuccessful Candidates

When you fill a position, there will probably be plenty of talented candidates that you didn’t take one, but would still make a great fit for your company in another position or if another vacancy opens up. Don’t burn your bridges with them by not bothering to let them know they haven’t got the job. Ghosting candidates is rude and leaves them with a poor impression of your company, and so less likely to apply again in the future or recommend your job to an acquaintance.

Not sure if your recruitment messages are giving off red flags to your candidates? Job-seeking forums, subreddits, and other discussion boards are great places to learn what not to do by reading through people’s experiences.


Job candidates will reciprocate the amount of effort you put into them. Taking a helpful and proactive approach to providing both updates about their application and insights into your company culture not only keeps candidates engaged with the job you are offering, but also acts as a first impression of how you value your staff and potential employees.


Author Bio: This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee engagement, and intranet software. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, employee productivity, and to save you valuable time!

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